I Have a Doctorate, Student Loans, and Want a Job


Dear Steve,

I took out student loans to complete a doctoral degree. I completed my degree in 2013. Since then, I have been applying for full time employment so that I could meet my payments, but to no avail.

Trying to find full time employment in the United States is like looking for a needle in a haystack. It appears that unless you have someone on the outside pushing your application, you are not even afforded an interview. In many instances, you do not receive a response.

I even resorted to writing to the President of the United States, but I received a standard letter of response. The reality is that I will soon turn 69 this year. I need help in securing a employment so that I can make the payments on my student loan.

I last applied for the option to pay as I earn, but I have not had a response. I have submitted my tax information, which indicate that I am living below the poverty level. However, I keep getting notifications for payments that exceed my ability to pay. The only work I can find is that of an adjunct professor, and that is not regular enough to meet the payments. I really want to work to pay off the debt. I am not looking for a handout; I need a job so that I can begin making my student loan payments.

What can you do to help find full time employment so that I can begin paying my student loan payments?

Dr. Maurice


Dear Dr. Maurice,

It sure sounds like you would be eligible for an income based repayment program. If your servicer or the Department of Education has not responded to your application yet, nag them. It is very possible your documentation and/or application was lost in the shuffle.

If you feel you are not getting any answers, you can file a complaint with the CFPB, click here or contact the Department of Education Ombudsman.

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Once you are completely enrolled in a qualifying income driven repayment program your payment would be $0 per month based on the facts you shared.

Regarding employment, it’s not clear that the employment outlook has changed dramatically since you elected to pursue this field of study or if the field just lacks opportunities in general to support repaying student loans.

Higher education is not a guarantee of employment eligibility, just the opportunity to earn a degree and become indebted to student loans. In fact, somewhere between 50-75% of those that owe student loans, never graduated.


You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.

Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

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